The Supernatural series finale is finally here. Did it satisfy? I’d say, mostly yes.
While writing the reviews for this final season, I will admit to having a kind of hate-watch attitude. This show has been on A LONG time. Fifteen seasons, as I’ve pointed out (probably to the point of exhaustion) is ridiculous. But, I will give them credit where credit is due – they managed to create and maintain a show with two main leads for fifteen years. That’s not an easy feat. You know how many ensemble shows lose powerful leads for any number of reasons in a far less number of seasons? My kudos goes out to the entire cast and crew of Supernatural.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the review of this, our final episode. Is it as good as the original series finale waaaay back in season five? No. Is it horrible? No. Actually, in a weird way, things kind of come full circle. I mean, except for the death stuff.
This will be a quick recap because overall not a lot happens in this episode. Remember, they got the big bad (God/Chuck) out of the way in the penultimate, which leaves us with a return to form of sorts for the series. Sam and Dean, no longer the puppets of fate (though, fate was a character way back in the series and definitely has a hand in what happens yet somehow isn’t vilified the way God is…), are free to live their lives however they choose. And they choose…to continue being hunters! Why? I have no fucking idea. Like, seriously. But, whatever, they end up going out on a routine call that happens to tie back to big daddy Winchester, and Dean dies in the process of culling a nest of vampires.
Dean’s death is respectable in that it is surprising. Not to us, I would think anyone watching should see this coming, but to him. We follow him on his last day, waking up, going through his normal routine (Sam too), and even getting some pie! Then, they catch a case, and suddenly things take a turn. You are lured into thinking the vampires will kill him, but no, fate gets her revenge when Dean’s life is snuffed out by a protruding piece of metal that impales him from behind…when a vampire pushes him into it. His death scene is meant to be touching and emotional, and I wanted to feel something…I really did, but at this point, I just can’t. Like I said, the most believable aspect of this is that it’s accidental and unexpected. Neither Sam or Dean is prepared for this moment, not so soon after the big win (though, I’m not too sure when exactly this happens on the timeline). Dean handles it like a champ though, which is where I feel the need to call bullshit. On the other hand, shock can make you pain-free, so maybe Dean’s incredibly calm surrender into the night isn’t unrealistic. I’m not a nurse or a medical professional. Still, his acceptance of the situation is odd. Maybe if this has happened a few seasons back when they were on a losing streak, or when Dean was noticeably tired of being alive, he would have welcomed death, but after the day he had!? I really was expecting more anger about how unfair it is for him to die like this. Oh well.
In any event, Dean dies, Sam gives him a hunter’s funeral and then goes onto the next case – care of a random phone call to one of Dean’s many phones. Part of me was thinking Sam would die on that case, but he doesn’t. In fact, Sam looks largely confused and lost when Dean dies. This bothers me because in one of the previous episodes, Sam is shown trying to rekindle his romance with Eileen, to the point that he is rushing to “save” her when Chuck dusts her. You’re telling me that when him and Dean are given true free will he never thought to call her up? When Dean dies and he could have retired from hunting and gotten with her, he doesn’t!? And yes, realistically this is probably because the actress who plays Eileen wasn’t available for such a cameo, but come on…you could have gotten a look alike – and don’t go telling me that lady who was all fuzzy in the background in Sam’s growing old montage was her, because if it was supposed to be her it was a terrible likeness. Also, also, I was wrong…he has a boy. Though, that prediction did come with the contingency that he got with Eileen, not some rando (and that Dean lived long enough to have a son, er, adopted son at least).
Getting back on track: Sam grows old and dies…of old age. His son, Dean, conveniently tells him the same words Dean (dead brother this time) asked him to speak when he was dying back in that vamp nest. It’s stupid, and cheesy, and I’m not a fan. But, I get it. TV and movies do that shit all the time.
Now, before Sam dies, when he goes off on that case, we pivot our attention to Dean. Dean goes to Heaven and things have changed quite a bit. Jack wasn’t a fan of the “best of your golden oldies” as Bobby puts it, instead setting up Heaven as a kind of retirement community, for lack of a better term. I have to say, as much as I hate Jack, this is a good change. Instead of living with the memories of people you loved when you were alive, you can actually go visit them and hang out with them whenever you like. Granted, if they aren’t dead, you need to patiently wait for them to join you, and there’s no mention made of whether Hell is still a thing, but Bobby does explain that time works differently in Heaven. Additionally, somehow, Jack got Cass out of the Empty. I mean, he is God/The Darkness, so it’s not entirely unbelievable, but given how mad the Empty got when Death scooped Jack up out of there, I don’t see how our toe-headed Jesus stand-in did it without pissing the cosmic crank off.
Lastly, Sam dies, as I mentioned, of old age. We don’t get to see him reunite with Bobby, only with Dean, and that reunion is how our series ends. Dean, driving on a bridge, stops to get out and admire the view before realizing that Sam has finally joined him in the afterlife. It’s a touching moment (I’m sure lots of fans went through plenty of tissues), bringing the series to end where it began – with the two brothers reuniting after a long absence that ultimately was caused by the family business. This time, however, there is no surprise, just joy and relief.
Probably my biggest complaint about this finale would be the pacing. Too much time is spent on setting up the monster-of-the-week aspect that leads to Dean’s death. Even the last minute cameo from an old, not so familiar face (Jenny played by Christine Chatelain) is largely a waste of our time. Look, I know endings are hard, Chuck said as much in the original series finale. You can’t please all of the people, that’s impossible, but as “The Long Road Home” clip-show series roundup before this episode expressed – the makers of this show felt a huge loyalty to the characters themselves vs the audience. I have no doubt most fans will enjoy this ending and see it as a fitting final episode for their beloved series. I love that they died, I had asked for it and was pretty much expecting it as a just ending to their journey, so I’m very glad it happened. That being said, more attention could have been paid to either Sam’s life after Dean, or Dean’s exploration of new Heaven, over doing the usual set up of their last case. But hey, as was clearly indicated at the beginning of these reviews: we’re just shotgun to this story and shotgun? We shut our cake-holes.
Thanks for fifteen years, Supernatural, it really is amazing what you managed to accomplish. I’m glad that writers and showrunners who worked on you went on to stretch their creative wings in shows like The Magicians, and The Boys (fun fact: Jensen Ackles will be joining the cast in the next season!). I look forward to seeing what else they come up with, because when this show was good it was fantastic. It was bold, and unpretentious, and silly, and tongue-in-cheek witty. That’s the Supernatural I fell in love with. And, while you didn’t give me as great highs in the last…I’d say three or four years, I’m still glad I stuck with you!